Renegade captain Stuart Lackey said he and his crew "got lucky and picked the right days to go for us to catch a good one" in winning both the 2018 South Carolina Wahoo Series and the Hilton Head Harbor Wahoo Shootout.
Renegade, a 54-foot Jarrett Bay owned by Dr. Quill Turk of Mount Pleasant, took home just over $48,000 by winning both events, including $25,000 for finishing first in the Wahoo Series with a total of 156.9 pounds. Another Charleston boat, Liqrbox, owned by Charlie Aimar, finished second in the Series with 148.9 pounds.
The Wahoo Series is now in its seventh year. It begins Feb. 2 and continues through April 15 with competitors allowed to select two days to fish for a combined two-fish weight. The Shootout, in its 14th year, is a separate bonus event in which competitors have the opportunity to sub out their smaller fish with a heavier one.
Renegade went into the Shootout with the lead at 154.0 pounds with wahoo weighing 88.3 and 65.7 pounds. The Shootout was held April 18-21 with boats allowed to pick one day to fish. The field was hampered by bad weather with only two wahoo being caught, a 20.2-pound fish caught April 18 and Renegade's 62.4-pound catch April 21.
"It was so rough that not many boats could make it out. Most turned around. The seas were five to six feet. We couldn't make but 14 to 15 knots," Lackey said. "We just took our time and got out there. We were fishing out of Charleston so we could fish down-sea and then run into Hilton Head so it wasn't too bad for us."
Lackey said he and his crew caught a handful of tunas and pulled the hook on a couple of wahoo before senior angler Ray Sedgwick finally landed the money fish around 11:30 a.m.
Lackey said the Renegade crew fished half a dozen times, waiting to figure out when the fish would arrive, before finally committing to fish early in April and they were rewarded with the third heaviest catch in the Series, 88.3 pounds.
South Carolina Wahoo Series founder Marc Pincus of Hilton Head said this year's event drew 128 entries with weigh stations in Hilton Head, Mount Pleasant and Georgetown. Twenty-two boats registered for the Hilton Head Harbor Shootout.
"The Series ended up going down to the wire again," Pincus said. "And the Shootout kept everybody on their toes. That last day only two boats fished. One was the leader (Renegade) and the other one had an 84-pound fish so he had a chance to win."
Pincus noted that the Series included one wahoo that weighed 105.5 pounds (Reelist), a 92.6-pound fish (Nonsense) and several 80-pound catches.
"I'm pretty proud of the leaderboard," Pincus said. "For the third year in a row, we weighed one over 100 pounds. South Carolina's fishery doesn't get talked about enough. You could put our leaderboard up against any tournament in the world.